SUNY Oneonta in the 2018 National RecycleMania Competition

Oneonta's Environmental Sustainability team; Photo by Adam Hadad

Adam Hadad, Contributing Writer |

The annual RecycleMania campus tournament is finally underway. RecycleMania began in 2001 and has had over 1,000 schools in the United States and Canada participate. Universities from all over the country participate in this friendly competition to promote waste reduction activities in their campus community.

From February 5 to March 31, this eight-week program allows SUNY Oneonta and other colleges across the United States and Canada to report the amount of materials recycled each week. Those numbers are then turned into national rankings for the universities in various categories, such as the diversion rate, waste minimization per person, paper and cardboard, the total recycling done in pounds, and the per capita classic, which is the largest amount of recyclable materials per individual on campus. With the updated ranking, each participating school can then track their campus progress against the other colleges, and encourage their students to do more.

The Office of Sustainability has made it their mission to widely inspire the campus community by demonstrating the right approaches to preserve our natural environment. With RecycleMania, the fair and friendly competition is just one activity that can improve sustainability efforts throughout campus. On-campus events like Recycolympics to the recycle competition have been organized to cover the 8-week program. During this time, the Office of Sustainability will be collecting data and reporting it to RecycleMania.

Cameron French, an intern at the Office of Sustainability, mentioned how one of the goals in participating in the tournament is to create awareness for everyone and encourage both students and staff to increase recycling efforts both on and off campus. Regarding this year’s RecycleMania competition, French said, “Our goal for this year is to increase campus’ recycling rate by 25 percent and so far, it’s looking good.”

Quantitatively, this is true. Thus far, SUNY Oneonta has made major improvements in comparison to last year. From an 11 percent weekly recycling rate in 2017, we have increased that number by nine percent; at this point, we have accumulated a total of 6,607 pounds in recycled materials. While these numbers might not put our school close to podium standing, it is still an increase in terms of everything zero-waste. The competition also monitors our totals in comparison to other SUNY schools who are participating.

Oneonta State Residential Life and Residence Hall Association are also working to push students in on-campus housing to participate in RecycleMania by creating their own local zero waste tournament, pitting the dorms against one another. Recent calculations show that Ford Hall is currently in the lead to win the first session pizza party. For students in another dorm, you’ll still have a chance for free pizza during the second session which runs from March 11 to March 13.

According to RecycleMania’s website, “national recognition is provided to the winning school in each category on the RecycleMania website and in a national press release. Winning schools receive an award made out of recyclable materials, and win the right to host that category’s special traveling trophy for the coming year.”

So, start encouraging everyone you know to recycle! For more information, visit the Office of Sustainability website at:

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